RAWALPINDI: Refuting the former aviation minister’s assertion about fake pilot licences, Senator Saleem Mandviwala said on Wednesday there were no fake pilots in Pakistan.

“I reiterate that no fake pilot exists,” he said following a meeting of the sub-committee of the Senate Standing Committee on Aviation.

Former aviation minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan had in June 2020 revealed in parliament that investigations found that more than 260 of the country’s 860 active pilots had either fake licences or cheated in their exams.

In the meeting held at the Parliament House under the chairmanship of Senator Mandviwala, the cases of licence cancellations of PIA pilots were thoroughly reviewed.

180 pilots reinstated, cases of remaining 80 under review, Senate body told

The sub-committee was briefed on the issues by officials from the Ministry of Aviation, Civil Aviation Authority, PIA and FIA.

Senator Mandviwala said that 180 pilots have been reinstated, while the committee is reviewing the cases of the remaining 80 pilots, as many of them have been facing issues without any apparent reason.

During the meeting, the CAA director general said that some unfair practices were observed in pilot exams involving certain CAA officials and retired pilots.

Senator Mandviwala said that pilots’ problems have persisted for the past three years and should have been resolved by now, which is why the national airline is also being affected.

The matter was brought up in the Standing Committee on Aviation, which led to the formation of a sub-committee. The purpose of this committee is not to assign blame, but to formulate recommendations for resolving these issues in a constructive manner. This will not only address the problems faced by these pilots but also improve the performance of national airline. DG Civil Aviation said there were issues concerning the licences of 262 pilots, which caused problems at the international level as well.

There were problems with the examinations of these pilots, resulting in their work being halted.

Following the investigation, 180 pilots were cleared, while the remaining 82 pilots still faced issues. As per the cabinet’s directive, 50 licences were cancelled, and in 32 cases, it was decided to suspend those who did not take the privileges for six months.

The Supreme Court was looking into the cases of pilots involved in fake degrees and had directed the ministry to take action against all instances of forgery.

The department conducted an inquiry and charged 68 pilots.

Senator Mandviwala directed that the details of those who have been discharged be provided, along with the reasons for their discharge.

The committee also raised concerns over the cancellation of all licences based on suspicion of fake ATPL licences.

The convenor questioned why CPL licences were cancelled when only the ATPL licences were found to be fraudulent. Senator Mandviwala suggested that if there were issues with the pilots’ exams, they could be re-examined.

The CAA director general clarified that the pilots who were dismissed due to fake licences did not have security clearance, whereas the pilot in question had security clearance.

He said that the licences of 33 pilots have raised suspicions. Out of the 33 pilots, cases against 27 have been registered. No cases have been registered against the remaining six pilots, he said. A review board was established for a period of 30 days, which operated for two years during which pilots could appeal.

Senator Mandviwala suggested that the matter should be taken up with the FIA in order to develop a mechanism.

The committee was informed that 19 cases were presented to the review board, and 18 of them have been resolved. Three pilots were granted relief, while seven received partial relief.

Published in Dawn, May 25th, 2023

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